2008 Twenty20 Cup Finals Day, Observed From Sandall Close, 26 July 2008

I remember everything, I remember nothing. In some ways, the senses were heightened, in other ways, numbed.

Cup finals day comprises two semi-finals and a final.

This link, to the Wikipedia entry for the day, sets out decent reviews of the two semi-finals.

Before looking at that piece, I couldn’t have told you that the Kent v Essex game was the first of the semi-finals, but on reflection of course it was.

Daisy and I had played tennis that morning and I hunkered down with the TV soon after our return from Boston Manor.

For MTWD, I set up an interactive report, the idea being that those at the ground and those watching from home would chip in with comments that would eventually comprise a sort-of modern era report. It sort of worked for a while – here is a link – but soon descended into a comments thread.

Just in case anything ever happens to MTWD, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – Twenty20 Semi-Finals Interactive Report

In those days my set up at Sandall Close was a bit rudimentary – Daisy’s dapper Sony VAIO with a plug in thingie to her NTL doodah – or was it already called Virgin by then? Anyway, it was trailing wires and a bit Heath Robinson-like.

The semi-final went Middlesex’s way in a fairly convincing fashion. Daisy and I found that hard to believe, but excitedly realised that we had a final on our hands.

I vaguely remember texting Ed Smith between the matches, which was not a very good idea. I have no recollection of what Daisy and I ate, nor when we ate it, but I’m pretty sure we ate.

The final was a very exciting affair. Here is the Cricinfo scorecard.

I think I watched most of the final in the bedroom and I clearly recall Daisy being unable to watch towards the end of the match.

The agony of the close finish soon switched to untrammelled joy at the tournament victory. The comments on that “semi-final interactive report”, which in the end covered comments on the whole day, summarise many of the MTWD sentiments.

Our MTWD match reporter for the day was Daria, who wrote a really excellent piece which we published on the Monday – click here.

What a day. It’s weird that such a day yields so few new insights, but I suppose the reactions/sensations at the time, encapsulated in the MTWD links above, really do tell the story.

 

Middlesex v Worcestershire Days 1 and 3 at Lord’s, Co-starring Ed Smith, 22 and 24 July 2008

Tuesday

I’m not sure when I was first approached by Ed Smith at Lord’s, but I am pretty sure it was on the first day of this match, 22 July, “The Longest Groundhog Day”, which I reported (mainly through MTWD) – click here for the Ogblog links.

Ed had been injured early in the T20 campaign – see my Ogblog about the day it happened here. As it turned out, the injury was a career ending injury, but at the time Ed was simply at a loose end around Lord’s hoping to recover quickly.

As I understand it, Richard Goatley suggested that Ed have a chat with me about stuff, possibly in part to clear the office at a crazy time (SGM day), possibly in part because he thought that Ed and I might not only find stuff to talk about, but even be able to tolerate each other while doing so.

First I knew of it was an SMS, which seemed to come from Ed Smith, suggesting we meet for a chat. At first I thought it was a joke/hoax (I was editing MTWD back then) but anyway it wasn’t a hoax. I did wonder whether Ed knew that I was MTWD’s Ged, but we never discussed the matter and (strangely) I have never asked Richard Goatley whether Ed was told/knew. I might ask Richard one day.

In any case, that Tuesday I was reporting for MTWD, but there was so much else going on I was able to fill my report with stuff and not feel that I was giving the readers short change by omitting the Ed Smith bits.

I recall a conversation about Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Ed had been asked to write a review of and/or comment upon The Black Swan. Ed said he was finding it impenetrable and asked if I had read it. I told him I had read it and recommended, as a way in to Taleb, Fooled By Randomness and the essay The Fourth Quadrant; the latter (in my opinion) being much shorter and much more to the point than The Black Swan.

A few months later, Ed wrote a piece (I think for The Times) about Lord’s being the only place on earth where you can strike up a random conversation about Nassim Nicholas Taleb and end up chatting with someone who knows as much, if not more, about Taleb than you do!

Thursday

Originally there would have been no hope of getting to any more of the Worcestershire match, but in the event both of my Thursday business meetings were moved; in the case of the Z/Yen Board meeting brought forward to the Wednesday.

That enabled me to pick up a copy of Fooled By Randomness (we had a few) and take it to Lord’s with me for Ed on the Thursday. So as it turned out, I got to see two days of that match and spend a bit more time chatting with Ed Smith.

The only problem with that was the cricket, which was mostly seeing Middlesex getting beaten up by relatively lowly Worcestershire.

Here’s a link to the scorecard.

The MTWD reporter that third day, Southgate Emerald, is prone to call a spade a bleeding shovel; this day was no exception – click here.

I remember that I did watch the denouement of the Worcestershire match with Ed and I remember that we discussed whether the player’s minds were on topic or whether thoughts of Finals Day at the Rose Bowl were more to the fore. We also wondered whether the extra day’s rest would help Middlesex ahead of Saturday’s massive event. As I recall it, our combined wisdom concluded that we didn’t have a clue.

Sound judgement, that.

The Longest Groundhog Day, MTWD Report on Middlesex v Worcestershire Day One at Lord’s, Followed by the SGM That Wasn’t, 22 July 2008

I previewed the Special General Meeting (SGM) in an editorial piece a couple of weeks before the event – click here.

Basically I spent the day at the cricket and then the evening at the SGM that, in the end, wasn’t an SGM.

Confused? I’m not sure if my MTWD review of the day and evening will help you, but there’s only one way to find out – click here.

Just in case anything ever happens to MTWD, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – The Longest Groundhog Day – Middx v Worcs Day One

Eight and a half years on, I have nothing to add to that report, other than hope that we never, ever, ever have to go through all that again!

BENTLEY BRING AND BRAAI CRICKET MATCH, Unfinished Masterpiece, 20 JULY 2008

Here is the unfinished “masterpiece”, which started to tell the tale of the Ian Harris Invitation XI v Charles Bartlett Invitation XI, Bentley CC – reported in a more Ogblog stylee here.

Sorry I didn’t have time to write a shorter one…

…or a complete one.

BENTLEY BRING AND BRAAI CRICKET MATCH – 20 JULY 2008

 Big Match Build Up

Hailing a brave new world, the annual Z/Yen v The Children’s Society cricket match had been laid to rest as a fixture.  Several of the original protagonists worked for neither organisation.  Further, numerous transfers and inter-marriages had occurred over the years.  It now seemed more fitting for the match to be renamed appropriately.  Ian Harris Invitation XI v Charles Bartlett Invitation XI sounded good.  Charles agreed to design a new trophy.  Even Dot Bartlett thought that “The Harris/Bartlett Trophy” sounded very grand, but Charles’ ego couldn’t sanction the title that way round, so the new trophy was named The Bartlett/Harris Trophy.

 

As the day of the big match approached, both captains were busy making their plans of campaign, more or less as usual.  Some things never change.

 

In order to cultivate a rich seam of talent, Ian had engaged the services of Heinrich The Gangmaster, who had in any case long-since moved on from The Children’s Society and was doing a great deal of work for Z/Yen.  Ian therefore claimed rights over Heinrich and his entire South African entourage.  Since Albus, top talent that he is, had married Fran from Z/Yen and led the way to a classic victory in 2007, it seemed only fitting that Heinrich’s entire gang switched allegiance.

 

There were fierce salvos of e-mail and a few frosty telephone and face-to-face exchanges, mostly revolving around  size and shape of players.  “No giants” was the gist of it, but definitions and playing conditions as usual got blurred in the debate.

 

Heinrich The Gangmaster was trying to be helpful when Ian spoke with him on the telephone.  “We can easily put together a winning team”, said Heinrich, “Rubeus is available, for example”.  “But Rubeus is a giant”, said Ian, “and I have promised Charles that we’d not field any giants”.  “Rubeus is only half-giant”, said Heinrich, unhelpfully, “but what about Lucius and Draco?”  “They’re evil”, said Ian, “I can only field players who we can be sure won’t try to take the opposition’s heads off”.  “What’s happened to your sense of fun?”, asked Heinrich.  “I lost it when you arranged for all of those giants and unhinged people to play against my team a couple of years ago,” Ian replied.  “I think I get the message”, said Heinrich.

 

Meanwhile Charles was taking no chances.  To counter the perceived threat, Charles Bartlett had cunningly ensured that he had access to the services of as many Bentley CC players as he might need, plus the festering talent pool of Tufty Stackpole, as well as the Children’s Society people, their friends and relations.

 

Of course, you wouldn’t guess any of that from the discussions between Charles and Ian.  “Not sure I can even get eleven people,” said Charles on one occasion, “been let down left right and centre.  Even that Bentley lad, Andy, is doubtful now.”  “We can always see if Heinrich the Gangmaster can find us some more South African hired hands,” said Ian.  “Funny you should mention that”, said Charles, “as I believe The Children’s Society has a couple of Heinrich’s mob back on their books again”.  “But no giants”, said both Charles and Ian in unison.

 

Meanwhile Dot Bartlett took on the unenviable task of arranging the most important element of the fixture: the catering for the day.  She was none too pleased when the original choice of caterers helpfully informed her that the firm had been taken over and that the new owners “wouldn’t get out of bed” for a poxy little catering contract like ours.  But Dot scrambled around and found a suitable alternative, little knowing that Heinrich The Gangmaster had his own ideas.

 

The Day of the Match – Ian Harris Invitation XI Innings

Come the toss, Ian was a little concerned that two members of his team were still missing: Michael and Elisabeth Mainelli.  Even more concerned was Ian when he lost the toss and was promptly inserted by Charles, as Ian was planning on opening the batting together with Michael.  It was a cunning plan.  Ian was to do his regular sandpaper bit, while Michael was to “pinch hit” using the baseball stance and technique which worked rather well against Barnardo’s 10 years ago.

 

But the Mainelli family arrived just in the nick of time.  The Mainelli’s came as a gang of four, including daughter Xenia (only the cruel and misguided suggest that Xenia was named after the business) and their priest, Father Bill (taking no chances this time, we nearly needed the last rites read more than once last time those big Saffers played).

 

“There’s a zoo, there’s a zoo”, shouted Xenia excitedly as they arrived.  “I can see zebra, wildebeeste, crocodiles, ostriches and snakes”.

 

“That’s not a zoo”, explained Michael, “it looks as though the Saffers have brought some food with them.  This looks distinctly like a ‘bring and braii’ to me.  If I’d known, I’d have brought some charismatic mega fauna with me as an offering.”

 

Meanwhile, Elisabeth was protesting that she had no suitable clothing or even footwear, as Michael had forgotten to tell her that she was playing today.  A very brief panic ensued, until Heinrich reminded Ian that we could, if utterly desperate, engage the services of Antonius Bloch, his former flatmate.  While Charles was remonstrating that Ian’s team was sleezing in a last-minute Saffer giant, Henirich assured everyone that Antonius’s only known sporting prowess was at chess.  Indeed, we could se Antonius playing with a rather shadowy-looking figure as we spoke.  Ominously, Father Bill was mumbling incantations at rapid speed while keeping a very safe distance from the chess-players.

 

While Elisabeth was remonstrating with Michael that she would have gladly played had she only been told that she was in the team, Ian was simultaneously rushing Michael into his pads and various protective clothing, all the while speaking in tongues about “pinch hitting”, “run rates”, “leg side”, “cow corner” and such like.

 

The problem was, of course, that in the intervening years Michael had seen a fair smattering of cricket and even been to see some 1st class matches, so he had seen how batting was supposed to be done.  So Michael ignored all this strange instructions and simply knuckled down to emulate the technique he had observed.

 

Several years seemed to pass as Michael and Ian’s opening partnership got underway.  The entire crowd fell into a deep and profound slumber, except for Heinrich the Braaier and his Assistant Braaier, Severus.

 

Suddenly there was a terrifying roar, the sound of a wild beast in agony.

 

“Nnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh”.

 

“Jou dom stuk kak, Severus”, yelled Heinrich, “I’ve told you before, man, don’t put live wildebeeste onto the braai”.

 

“I didn’t, man, that yell was Ian saying ‘no’ to a run”, said Severus, sheepishly.

 

“Sorry man.  Score still nought for nought then?”, asked Heinrich.

 

“Something like that”, said Severus.

 

No amount of pleading managed to persuade Michael to try a scoring shot, despite his pinch hitting role, but eventually he was put out of his misery and Matt joined Ian at the crease.  Matt didn’t find it much easier than Ian and Michael to get the ball off the square of the pudding-like wicket.  Eventually Matt decided to play a straight one, played across it, and Charles Bartlett had clean bowled Matt of all people!  Some say that Charles did himself some permanent damage celebrating that wicket, while others insist that the damage had been caused a long time ago through Charles’ strange habit of not wearing a box when batting.

 

Ian Harris Invitation XI v Charles Bartlett Invitation XI, Bentley CC, 20 July 2008

Charles Bartlett in action, me umpiring. It’s Chas’s photo, thanks Chas, but clearly he didn’t take it!

A few of us were clearly taking it seriously that year. The diary and e-mail correspondence suggests that we had a net on 27 May at Lord’s – me Chas, Matt and Adam Hinks:

Just a note to remind you all that we are netting this evening. See you at HQ Indoor School in whites just before 18:00.

Adam – FYI – I’ve bought and am bringing my helmet after our last net together!  Although, having seen Mr Flynn on Friday, I’m not sure I’ll be trying to hook the head-high stuff anyway!!

Chas typically complained about aches and pains the next day:

Great being at Lords last night, but am I the only one suffering from multitude of aches and pains from the cricket net?

And he calls me a wuss.

The planned 10 June net was cancelled by Lord’s; the diary says that we had a net with bowling machine 15 July (presumably the rescheduled gig.) I think that was just me, Chas and Matt, after which both of them claimed that they didn’t much like the bowling machine, so I don’t think we did that again. But the machine experience got me SO ready for battle.  I think Moses (Hallam Moseley) was the coach that day. Either him or Jamie Thorpe, whose left-arm bowling when without the machine tended to cause me all sorts of problems.

Anyway, this 20 July match was briefly reported in the Now and Z/Yen July 2008 issue, here, with the following words:

Caught Harris, Bowled Mainelli

A large Z/Yen contingent sallied forth to Brentwood in Essex, late July, to contest the new Bartlett-Harris Cricket Trophy. A Charles Bartlett Invitation XI (curiously similar to the old Children’s Society team) took on an Ian Harris Invitation XI (not discernibly different from the Z/Yen team of old). Z/Yen’s highlight of the day must have been Monique’s superb batting. But before that the lowlight of the day must have been the opening batting partnership between Messrs Harris and Mainelli; that managed to send any spectator who remained awake to sleep. Stick to the day job, fellas. But things were very different in the field, when those two teamed up for Ian Harris to take a sharp catch off the bowling of Michael – the first time he had ever bowled in his life. Ian also took several wickets with his moon-balls, including both Bartletts (father and son) in the same over. So perhaps Messrs Harris and Mainelli might choose to give up the day job in favour of cricket after all. As is so often the case, Ian’s team came second, but in any case The Children’s Society always wins, on this occasion to the tune of several hundred pounds raised towards that good cause. And a really good time was had by all; players and spectators alike.

There is a Flickr album with dozens of photos from this match (just one sample shown above and another below), with thanks to Charles Bartlett for the photos – click here.

Monique, Harish…and other “cricketers”!

Actually we have an embarrassment of photographic riches from this 2008 fixture; here is a link to the Z/Yen collection from that day – thanks (I think) to Monique Gore – click here.

I composed much but not all of a lengthy report on this match, from build up to part way through the first innings.  Then I must have run out of ideas or steam. It builds on the style of the 2006 Tufty Stackpole report, which Charles Bartlett likes a lot.

Anyway, click here for the text of the unfinished masterpiece.

Perhaps I shall finish off the story one day. Perhaps not.  Who knows where and when the muse will take me?

Copenhagen Saxophone Quartet, Italian Baroque Plus, Wigmore Hall, 19 July 2008

Janie likes a bit of sax. So a quartet of saxophonists playing Italian Baroque at the Wigmore hall seemed right up our street.

At the time of writing, I have had a more recent sax quartet experience – click here – having retained only a vague memory of having seen a sax quartet before. This Copenhagen Saxophone Quartet experience was it.

Judging from their website activities page – click here – this appearance at the Wigmore Hall might have been the end of the story for this troupe, even if at the time of booking it might have seemed like a big break near their beginning.

The concert does have an instant encore listing, though, which I am delighted to link here, although (at the time of writing) I am the only person to confess to having been at the concert. I think there were quite a few of us in, but perhaps not the packed Saturday night the Wig and the quartet might have hoped for.

Which is all a shame, as they were rather good, as was their interesting choice of music. I remember them describing their instruments and the pieces they were playing rather well.

I seem to recall that the baroque pieces did more for us than the modern ones. I also recall feeling that saxophone might not be the ideal instrument for baroque music – all sentiments that returned to me when I saw the Ferio Quartet at SJSS in December 2016 – click here.

Anyway, this concert got us all relaxed and suitably prepared for the following day’s battle playing cricket at Bentley.

England v South Africa at Lord’s, Days 2 and 4, July 11 and July 13 2008

I don’t know what it is about England v South Africa test matches at Lord’s, but I tend to have very poor recall of visits to them. I had the same problem in 2012 – click here. Perhaps it is to do with the flat tracks and England’s inability to win such fixtures.

On the Friday I went with Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett. He had just left Charityshare/Children’s Society and I had been unable to attend his leaving do. This was an opportunity to mark the occasion and have a proper chat, which we did.

Here’s the scorecard from the match.

England progressed from a good position to an excellent position during that Friday. It was the day that Ian Bell scored his heartbreaking 199, just missing out on the double-hundred.

This is a link to King Cricket’s piece on that innings of 199 by Ian Bell – I was only occasionally reading/chiming in on that site at that time, so not even a squeak of “I was there” from me. I enjoyed rocking backwards and forwards within the King Cricket site to read the other pieces posted during that match, with some excellent headlines and utter irrelevance to the match:

But I digress. I think Chas and I sat in the Mound Stand, but that is one aspect of the memory lapse. Another is the words “Kim and Micky” in my diary for the evening; I really don’t remember spending a whole day the cricket and then a whole evening with them. Perhaps Janie’s diary will reveal more on that aspect.

Chas’s note after the match makes it plain what his priorities were:

Good luck for you and Janie at Lords tomorrow, you may even see England win!

Thanks for the fantastic day on Friday it was really appreciated.

Can you remind me of the white wine as we are going to France on Monday and Dot has expressed an interest in getting some if we can see it!

Prior to the Friday, I had sorted out an anthology of links and match reports for Chas, as he had asked for it. Here’s a link to the thing uploaded; it is coming in very handy for Ogblog purposes:

Cricket Anthology For Charles Bartlett July 2008

My reply to Chas’s wine question and other points on the Saturday:

Thanks for your thanks – it was good to see you and we certainly got a very good day.  Janie and I should also be in for a good day, although I have a sneaking suspicion that he Saffers might bat a bit better today, so I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we win today but not at all surprised if the match goes well into Monday.

The white win is from New Zealand, not France, so you might struggle to find it over there (or indeed here).  It’s a Villa Maria special one named Taylor’s Pass, Pinot Gris.

My sneaking suspicion was prescient.

On the Saturday evening, Janie and I went to see The Female of the Species at the theatre – click here if you want to read about that.

My only real recollection of the Sunday is Janie getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of action that day. Yup, I’ve just checked and that is pretty much the sum total of Janie’s recollection as well.

It was the flattest of flat Lord’s flatties, which tends to irritate Janie at the best of times. Janie probably took it out on me a bit. That’s the Female of the Species for you. On this occasion, with England staring potential victory in the eye, it was an especially frustrating match. That’s cricket for you.

The Female Of The Species by Joanna Murray-Smith, Vaudeville Theatre, 12 July 2008

We don’t much go for West End productions, but this one does read like a Cottesloe, Royal Court or Hampstead type production, despite landing in the West End straight from its original Australian production.

The play is a comedy, loosely based on a real incident in which Germaine Greer was breifly kidnapped by a deranged “fan”.

Thank you, Official London Theatre, for all the details about the production – click here.

Janie and I saw this on the Saturday of the Lord’s test, with Lord’s tickets in our hand for the Sunday and with me having been at Lord’s on the Friday, enjoying a long weekend…

…Eileen Atkins, Anna Maxwell Martin, directed by Roger Michell…what could possibly go wrong?

Not a lot, really. It was funny, yet also quite forgettable. Only by skimming the above OLT synopsis and the reviews that follow does it start to come back to me. A bit like the test match really, seems like I was having that sort of weekend:

Still, it was worth seeing and for sure a notch or three above the usual West End comedies.

Middlesex CCC Gets Political, MTWD Editorial, 10 July 2008

Between the works outing to the horses on 9 July – click here… 

…and the Lord’s test match weekend 11 & 13 July – click here…

…you’d have thought that I had enough real work to do.

Which I probably did.

But still I wrote the editorial contained in the following link, to encourage people to vote wisely in the forthcoming Middlesex CCC no confidence vote/Special General Meeting.

Here’s a link to the editorial.

Just in case anything ever happens to MTWD, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – Editorial_ Vote NO, Vote In Advance By Proxy

The irony of course was that Middlesex had got to finals day of the T20 competition and the SGM was scheduled for the Tuesday before the big day. Not ideal.

It all came good in the end. Doesn’t read too clever from my 10 July 2008 editorial though. Here’s the link again.

 

A Day At the Races, Z/Yen at Lingfield, 9 July 2008

Mark Yeandle and Ian Harris duelling. Extracted from the Z/Yen website, photograph probably taken by Alexander Knapp

A works outing to the Lingfield races. Linda Cook’s e-mail to the team summed up the planning for the day:

Dear Racers

Happy to announce schedule for the race day on 9 July 2008:

Departing London Bridge: 11.48 – (we will leave the office at 11.00 or if you wish met at the station at 11.35, this will give us time to get tickets)

Arriving Lingfield Park: 12.39

Lunch served: 13.15-13.30

After lunch at leisure: First race: 14.10 – Last race: 17.05

Departing Lingfield Park and back to London Bridge (I have timetable for trains from 15.44, in case anyone needs to get away early.  I expect to leave on the 17.31 train arriving back at London Bridge 18.10).

Dress code: smart casual or in Mark Yeandle’s case dressing up like Rupert Bear is acceptable.

Jez and Nick, I hope you have entered the “form” onto PropheZy and come up with a list of winners for everyone.

Good luck.

Linda

As well as me and Linda, the circulation list for the day included Michael Mainelli, Mary O’Callaghan, Mark Yeandle, Nick Danev, Alexander Knapp, Jez Horne, Ben Morris, Jan-Peter Onstwedder, Rebecca Dawson and Mike Prymaka.

There are more pictures, which can be found by clicking here.

PropheZy is Z/Yen’s predictive analytics support vector machine engine, just in case anyone is reading this who doesn’t know but does wonder what PropheZy might be.

The day was summarised after the event by yours truly in the July 2008 Now and Z/Yen Newsletter thus:

Racing Events, Dear Reader, Racing Events

Z/Yen chose the wettest day of the decade for its works outing to the Lingfield Races. Mercifully Lingfield is an all-weather course, so the fun, team bonding and deep research was not interrupted. And deep research was at least partly the order of the day, as Z/Yen’s position on the relationship between gambling and financial services (see http://www.zyen.com/now-and-zyen/371-betting-on-the-future for example) is starting to generate real client work. However, the Lingfield day’s deep research mainly comprised fail-safe investment strategies such as “choosing the horse with the name I like”, “choosing the one whose jockey is wearing my favourite colours” and “choosing the one with an Irish/Aussie/Arabian owner/trainer”. Strangely, the bookies all seemed to think that these were excellent investment strategies. But joking apart, the day was a great success for all involved.

I think this might have been the occasion that Michael and I were both persuaded to take out an accumulator and were both in it right until the last race. Sadly, no cigar for me in the end but Michael did win “a Cuban cigar or twelve”. Still, that made the day exciting and is as close as I’m ever likely to get; I am hopeless at picking horses and frankly don’t much care for betting. But the day at the races is a fun day out for all manner of reasons. I do recall it being a very enjoyable and successful event for all concerned.

The photo (see top of the article) went on to be the Z/Yen caption competition that August, attracting entries from the four corners of the globe…well, including Mark’s brother Simon in Australia anyhow.